Weekly News: March 31, 2014

Clara Isom, principal of SHSMs' Holy Family School in Holly Springs, Miss.
Clara Isom, principal of SHSMs’ Holy Family School in Holly Springs, Miss.

Principal becomes associate with the sisters who taught her at SHSM school

“The teachers who came down to Mississippi when I was a girl let me know my self-worth,” said Clara Isom, principal of Sacred Heart Southern Missions’ Holy Family School in Holly Springs, Miss. “They let me be me. That has carried me through some rough times; they never left me.”

And Clara hasn’t left Holy Family (known as “St. Mary’s” when Clara was a student), nor the sisters who taught her. After college she returned to Holly Springs to teach at the school and now serves as its principal.

Last September she became an associate member of the School Sisters of St. Francis, the Wisconsin religious community that has served in Holly Springs since the school’s early days.

A Baptist all her life, Clara said that she shares the same spirituality as the School Sisters. “We have a lot of the same beliefs and values,” she said. “I thought, if I can join with them and pray with them, and have them pray with me, my life will have more meaning.”

Clara was recently featured in “Alive with the Call of the Gospel,” a publication of the School Sisters of St. Francis. Click here to view the publication online.


Br. Clay Diaz
Br. Clay Diaz

At its March meeting the Provincial Council approved Br. Clay Diaz for perpetual vows. He will make his final profession this summer, tentatively during the Provincial Chapter.

“I want to share this good news with everybody,” said Br. Clay, who just finished his final vow retreat. “I am looking forward for this great day and for my next step in ministry.”

Br. Clay is a member of the Dehon Formation Community in Chicago.


In Fr. Tom Cassidy’s final blog post about India he shared a quote from a Dutch SCJ missionary. The correct spelling of the SCJ’s name is “Kees van Paasen.”

Was Fr. Dehon an economist?

“Clergy have to learn about economic issues and the problems of social science… Our seminaries have to offer courses in social and political economics.”

Fr. Quang explains economic formulas
Fr. Quang explains economic formulas

Who said it? Originally, Fr. Leo John Dehon. Echoing it about a 100 years later was Fr. Quang Nguyen, presenter at Sacred Heart School of Theology’s annual Dehon Lecture on March 26. The title of his presentation: “Fr. Dehon’s Ministry from an Economic Perspective.”

Fr. Quang began by listing the founder’s academic resumé, including degrees in canon and civil law, theology and philosophy.

“But was he an economist?” asked Fr. Quang. Fr. Dehon held no degree in the field, but “his self-taught knowledge and respect for the discipline of economics was evident in his ministries and in his young congregation. His approach to ministry signified a deep understanding of economic issues and principles. And he did not stop at understanding the issues and theories but more important, he put them into practice.”

“We all have responsibility,” said a member of the audience during a panel discussion after the presentation. “Many of us own stocks, if not directly, then through retirement plans or mutual funds. Do we make the effort to find out what is being done in our name? We are business owners too.”

“The economy is global,” said another. “But so too is our faith.”

Click here to read more about Fr. Quang’s presentation.

“Go to the people”

Each week the newly developed Dehonian Spirituality section of the province website is updated with reflections and prayers from Fr. Leo John Dehon, members of the community, collaborators, and others impacted by the charism of the founder. The following is from a reflection posted last Friday by Mark Peters, province director of Justice, Peace and Reconciliation:

Mark Peters
Mark Peters

“In the last two months, I’ve been reading Fr. Dehon’s biography and some of his writings, and although I feel I’ve barely dipped my toe into the depths of his legacy, I’m already convinced that he should have been my patron saint all along.  Leo Dehon was born into a society still not healed from a civil war, in political turmoil, and in which the Church was seen as irrelevant by many.  Sound familiar?  While our contemporary situation may not be quite as volatile as his (yet, at least), the parallels are certainly there.

“To Church leaders of his day, he offered the advice: ‘Go to the people!’  He took his own advice, especially focusing on young adults and workers.  He listened to them, and after opening his eyes and (of course!) his heart to their struggles, he both spoke out on their behalf and encouraged them to speak and act for themselves.”

Click here to read the rest of Mark’s reflection, as well as other items posted.

The Dehonian spirituality page is edited by David Schimmel, province director of Dehonian Associates. Questions or comments about the page? Click here to email David.


Vocation Central office staff have new email addresses:

Fr. Quang Nguyen

Br. Long Nguyen

Keith Burdick

Vocation Central main email

Dennis Cetnarowski (IT)

Note, Br. Ray Kozuch’s email will remain the same:


C Brown Indonesia with students

Hello from Indonesia!

As noted last week, Fr. Charles Brown is in the Indonesia Province where he will be giving talks to the scholastics in Yogyakarta during Holy Week.

Fr. Charlie is pictured above with students at the SCJs’ St. Paul Minor Seminary in Palembang. “This was taken after two class sessions with the upper class,” he wrote. “We had a great time especially working English and expressing our ideas together.”

Opinion piece

Screen Shot 2014-03-31 at 10.41.40 AMAn opinion piece written by Fr. Bob Bossie was published in the March 27 Chicago Tribune.

“The reality of class warfare is being trivialized by politicians and commentators alike,” wrote Fr. Bob. “This strategy, intentional or not, helps impugn those who talk about class warfare. America, the pundits would have us believe, is a classless society.

“In reality, before the Occupy Wall Street movement popularized the reality of class warfare through the slogan of the “1 percent versus the 99 percent,” class warfare was a covert operation.

“Yes, some commentators acknowledged that the salaries of corporate CEOs are frequently hundreds of times those of their employees. And they acknowledged the enormous wealth, numerous homes and extravagant lifestyles of the 1 percent. But they said little about the unbridled power of members of the 1 percent while implying they are just like us and that we would all do well to emulate them.”

Click here to read the full text on the Tribune website.

Happy birthday!

Those celebrating birthdays in April include Frater James Nguyen (25) on April 6, Fr. Jim Walters (64) on April 17, Fr. Jim Schifano (69) on April 19, Fr. Ray Vega (90) on April 22, Br. Duane Lemke (42) on April 26, Fr. Tom Lind (82) on April 27 and Fr. Paul Casper (84) on April 29.

Happy birthday!


Prov chap logo LR

Chapter information

There are now sections in the Members’ area of the province website for both the 2014 Provincial Chapter and 2015 General Chapter. Among the items posted for the Provincial Chapter is a listing of delegates.

Preparatory information will continue to be added to both sections in the weeks ahead.

Provincial’s time

Fr. Stephen Huffstetter is in Texas this week for a visitation. Next week he heads back to his home of many years, South Dakota, where he also has a visitation. The first part of Holy Week Fr. Steve will be with the formation community in Chicago.